Warning Over Washed-Up Tobacco

Dorset Police and partner agencies are issuing safety advice after ship’s cargo has been recovered on Portland.

Early yesterday morning on Tuesday 25 February 2014, Dorset Police received reports of contents of a shipping container being washed up at Chesil Beach. 

The majority of this content has been washed up in a destroyed state and members of the public are advised not to attend the beach area. 


Dorset Police’s Force Incident Commander Chief Inspector Dean O’Conner said: 

“The councils and emergency services of Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole are united in their plea to the public to think carefully about visiting the shoreline. 

“The recent influx of cigarettes washed up onto the beaches of Weymouth and Portland may tempt some people to venture out in search of free tobacco but they will be disappointed because the cargo – lost overboard during storms earlier this month – has been badly damaged and is beyond use.

“Our main fear is for the safety of the public – landslips over the past few weeks remain a real risk and people should not put themselves at increased risk. 

“Furthermore, the washed up cargo remains the property of the cargo owners. Local councils and beach owners are working together with the HMRC and Border Force to arrange for the cigarettes to be cleared up, collected and accounted for.” 


Bob Gaiger, Dorset spokesman for HM Revenue & Customs said: 

“These cigarettes were part of a large legitimate commercial consignment being shipped from Rotterdam to Sri Lanka when they were lost overboard in storms. Those cigarettes that have been washed up on local beaches will be recovered and sent for disposal. The public are urged to resist the temptation to collect the cigarettes which have been ruined by the sea water.”

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